One Minute With : Michael Palin
Friday 18 September 2009
Where are you now and what can you see?
In my work room at home in Gospel Oak, London, I see the backs of houses, 1860s brick-built on one side, and 1980s architect-designed white concrete on the other, separated by an urban jungle of green trees and shrubs.
What are you currently reading?
Saddled with Darwin: A journey through South America by Toby Green. Entertaining, enterprising and very useful for a talk I have soon to give on the great man. My fiction fix at the moment is John Updike's S which I found while clearing out old shelves. Once I'd blown the dust off it, it hooked me from page one.
Choose a favourite author
Vladimir Nabokov. Elegant, stylish, funny, delicate and inimitable.
Describe the room where you usually write
It is ten metres long by three wide, windows on either side which overlook verdant back gardens, a circular staircase that leads onto the roof, and paintings and books on the walls.
What distracts you from writing?
Almost anything. My computer is the ultimate distraction, offering millions of alternatives to the job in hand. I'm seriously thinking of writing my next book (a second novel) long-hand, as I do with my diary each morning.
What fictional character resembles you most?
Lassie. Loves family life and is prepared to travel long distances for it.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Backpack sporting, heavily perspiring and usually abroad
Who is your hero or heroine from outside literature?
Frank Pick, who created the design style for London Transport in the 1920s and 1930s, which has not been bettered since.
Michael Palin's volume of diaries, 'Halfway to Hollywood', is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland